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What is the purpose of an application letter?

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Quick Answer

An application letter, often written in the form of an application essay, is devised to help colleges understand their applicants better and make informed decisions about who to accept into their university. An application essay is typically required for both undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States.

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Full Answer

In order to write a compelling application essay, there are a few guidelines that can help applications. The first step is to determine whether or not this is an application essay for undergraduate school or an application letter for graduate school.

For undergraduate school, the college may provide the applicant with a topic. These can sometimes be quite bizarre, such as the University of Chicago's "How do you feel about Wednesday?" topic or Tufts University's "Are We Alone?" topic. For these essays, applicants should be concise and honest about their achievements. Try to write vividly, accurately and be likable. Be an individual and the application essay will be great.

For graduate school, the process of writing the application letter is a little bit different. Graduate schools are interested in learning about what the applicant did in undergraduate school and what their accomplishments are in their field as well as what they are passionate about in academia. The application letter should have a "hook" that helps to demonstrate the applicant's passion for the field as well as detail the applicant's real life experience background in the field, academic background in the field and why the applicant has chosen this specific graduate school program.

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